A Waggaman father arrested in connection with the February beating death of his 14-year-old son has been charged with second-degree murder, while the boy’s stepmother faces a charge of cruelty to a juvenile.
Furnell Daniel, the boy’s father, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday, and Terri Daniel, his stepmother, was charged through a bill of information filed by Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick’s office on Monday.
Jalen Daniel, 14, died of injuries caused by head trauma Feb. 8, a few days after his father is accused of beating him with a paddle at their Clifford Court home.
Investigators said Terri Daniel returned home after 10 p.m. Feb. 5 and found Jalen complaining of headaches and other injuries.
He was given pain relievers and an Epsom salt bath but collapsed while being bathed. According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, his parents delayed taking him to the hospital even as he sweated, vomited and urinated on himself.
About 12:22 p.m. the next day, Furnell Daniel called 911 and told officers Jalen had fallen and hit his head in the bathtub. Doctors at Ochsner Medical Center, however, told detectives that the boy’s injuries suggested abuse.
At the hospital, Jalen was unresponsive and had cuts and bruises on his legs, arms, torso and head. A splinter of wood was lodged inside a wound above his left eye.
Police said at the time that Furnell Daniel would regularly beat Jalen and his 15-year-old brother for their bad grades. Terri Daniel said she knew about the incident but denied knowing how serious her stepson’s injuries were.
Furnell Daniel, 43, whose last name appears as “Daniels” on the indictment, along with an alias of “Furnell Daniel,” faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if he is convicted of second-degree murder. He is being held in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Terri Daniel, 30, will be arraigned Tuesday and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Furnell Daniel’s case will be heard by 24th Judicial District Court Judge Stephen Grefer, while Terri Daniel’s case will be heard by Judge Ray Steib.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.